“Come away with me,” she whispers.
For a brief moment you believe she is sincere. You must believe it. Not because your reason tells you that it is true, but because you so want to believe it. You yearn for her to be true. She is what you dream of in the lonesome hours of each dark night as you lie in the heavy air of your bedroom, unsure if you are awake or asleep, afraid to exhale lest you miss the faintness of her whispered breath above the hum of the silence.
She is what you think of during the toils of the day. You look for any sign of her coming–test the air for a scent of her strange perfume. You are like a teenage girl, sitting by the phone on Friday night. Ring! Ring! Oh, please ring.
She has become your fixation. She is a drug and you are now her hopeless addict. You have passed the point of want and entered the dark realm of need. She is obsession.
You know she is a liar, a flirt, a tease. She has no qualms about playing with your heart. She has broken it before, and doubtless countless other hearts along the way. But you don’t care. Like the addict, you tell yourself that this time will be different. Just one more chance. This time, she will be true to you.
She is, after all, so beautiful. Eyes so blue that you can see straight through into eternity, and yet at night they seem so dark but still filled with the twinkle of a billion stars. Her breath is soft on your cheek. Her touch cool and caressing. Her dress is hued in a thousand colors, so beautiful that she can make your heart feel that it will explode within your chest. She refreshes you, invigorates you, somehow makes you feel like a young man again. Perhaps this is the real reason you want her so badly. It is not a desire for her as much as an unrequited need in you.
It matters not that she’s disappointed you so many times before. It matters not that she is a straight-faced liar. It matters not that you’ve been used. You’ve played the fool on countless occasions, and like the dog who has been beaten again and again, you cower at her feet and hope that this time she won’t hurt you. This time will be different.
She will appear at your side for brief moments and then disappear, sometimes for days or weeks at a time, leaving you sad and heartsick again.
She will always be unfaithful, and you know that you will never be able to change her. But that doesn’t diminish your desire or make you relinquish the false hope that you desperately cling to.
She is Fall in Alabama, and I long for her touch.
*Originally published here in 2010 and later by “The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature.”